Why Associations Need Salesforce (and How To Make It Happen)

Associations today have an extremely important job. They are representatives of industry, the driving force for change, and the voice

4 min. read

Associations today have an extremely important job. They are representatives of industry, the driving force for change, and the voice of their members and the industry they support.

As Associations grow and mature, many have found that disconnected business units have formed natural silos in the organization. These silos have enabled each business unit to operate with separate business processes and tools, which has resulted in a fragmented technology landscape. Operating day-in and day-out in this way often hinders the Association from being able to meet the growing demands of an evolving client base and slows the organization from being a change-agent for their industry and an advocate for their members.

Know Your Goals and Define a Mission

As Associations look to the future, they do so with many similar goals in mind. An Association client that Torrent has worked with developed this mission statement to help guide them on their journey towards the future:

“Develop a best in class platform that positions us to deliver top notch advocacy, high quality education, and leading edge technology innovation to our members in a personalized way, with efficiency and seamless integration across the organization.”

In support of this mission, we, at Torrent, helped them to create a blueprint for transforming their business.

The overarching goal of the blueprint (we call it a Platform Transformation Roadmap) is to begin to break down silos that exist inside of the business by providing a centralized system of record and creating a unified, connected platform from which to operate the business organization wide.

Put People and Process Before Platform

Our approach was simple – we conducted highly targeted discovery sessions with every group in the organization from the C-Level down to the entry level to understand who they were, how they operated, what their challenges were, and where the opportunities for improvement were. Only once we had a firm understanding of the people and the processes did we look at technology and how a platform built on Salesforce could be designed to transform their business.

Throughout each session and in speaking with members of the various teams, we were able to identify many pain points and opportunities to eliminate inefficiency and increase productivity.

  • “We’re managing too many things in Excel.”
  • “We’re spending hours taking data from one system and manually moving it to another.”
  • “It’s tough to coordinate all of our email campaigns to avoid overkill or stepping on toes.”
  • “There’s virtually zero visibility and analytics into all of our marketing, sales, service, and member engagement efforts.”

Armed with these data points we were able to cast the vision for how moving towards a connected platform would allow the team to foster a collaborative environment. This included enabling them to provide the right information to the right people at the right time, create a stellar sales and service experience for members, and drive greater member engagement while providing them value in a personalized way.


Identify the ROI

Not only were there gains to be found by focusing on improving customer and employee experience, we were able to identify cost savings and productivity gains across the board.

By embarking on this platform transformation and building a unified, connected platform on Salesforce, the organization has the opportunity to realize approximately $1,000,000 in productivity gains and approximately $3,500,000 in cost savings over a five year period.

Pulling off a transformation of this magnitude is no small feat – there needs to be buy in from all levels of the organization. Just as important, the vision and dialogue around how everyone’s day-to-day life will be impacted needs to be clearly articulated.

Be Ready to Tackle Transformation

We advocate for a strong change management strategy and have seen our most successful projects employ one. Change management, as important as it is, can often be ambiguous; so, what exactly is change management, and what does a change management strategy look like?

Change management encompasses the methods needed to ensure a successful transition from one “state” to ”another” (e.g., process changes, organizational changes, technology changes, etc.). We believe that in order to have a successful change management strategy, it is important to consider the Four Tenets of Successful Change Management: 

  • Readiness EvaluationDefined metrics to measure the success of implementation
  • Continuous CommunicationDrive consistent communication across the organization through the development of the proposed changes
  • Training/AdoptionDesign targeted training for both end users and administrators while measuring adoption at various intervals throughout the launch process
  • Support/InnovationProvide the necessary materials and structure to support end-users post-launch. Utilize a Center of Excellence (CoE) to define strategy, promote updates, and add new features to the system

In that same vein, an important role to consider including in an organization to help drive a change management strategy and manage the overall success of the platform transformation is a Platform Manager. The Platform Manager is an individual with strong operational experience that not only knows the ins and outs of Salesforce but also should holistically understand the business, its vision, goals and initiatives, and how the platform can help to drive towards that strategy.

Start By Starting

Be it scaling operations, better tracking data, or increasing flexibility, Salesforce helps transform the way you do business and drive member engagement.

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